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article imageNBA: Spurs roll past Denver, 114-99

By Lynn Herrmann     Feb 24, 2012 in Sports
Denver - With both teams coming off road losses against Western Conference foes, the Denver Nuggets hosted San Antonio on Thursday night and discovered why the hottest team in the NBA is the Spurs, who cruised to a 114-99 win in the Mile High City.
Coming off a Wednesday night loss in Los Angeles against the Los Angeles Clippers and arriving home late, the Nuggets opened the game on road-weary legs, hitting just two of their first 14 shots against the Spurs and fell into an early hole which they never recovered from.
For the Spurs, a 40-point blowout loss against Portland on Tuesday was their only blemish on the rodeo road trip, and was due in part to a decision by head coach Gregg Popovich to rest his two stars, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan.
Compounding the problem was Manu Ginobili’s return to the injured list, where he was joined by center Tiago Splitter. Both players suffered their injuries in the stunning overtime win against the Clippers two games ago.
Also on the injured list for San Antonio is backup point guard T.J. Ford, out with a hamstring injury. The silver lining is all three players are expected to return to action shortly after the All-Star break, a break the Spurs now head into having won 12 of their last 13 games.
San Antonio used a 16-1 run in the first quarter to open up a 26-7 lead and took a 31-15 score into the second quarter. Leading the way for the Spurs, in their never-ending list of players leading the way on different game nights, was center DeJuan Blair, with eight points in the opening frame.
Denver’s shooting woes continued into the second quarter, and with the exception of Al Harrington’s outstanding rebounding performance, the team was listless. The Nuggets shot 36 percent from the field in the first half.
San Antonio used another run, ending the second quarter on a 17-7 run, to take a 65-39 lead into intermission. It was a season-high for points scored in the first half of a game, and came in part from the team’s 9-of-18 shooting from beyond the arc. The Spurs shot 53 percent from the field during the first two quarters.
The Spurs extended their lead to 28 in the third quarter as hot shooting and team defense continued at an elevated level.
Despite Denver ending the third quarter on a 13-6 run, they still trailed 92-72 going into the final frame.
The Nuggets closed within 12 with just over six minutes to play in the fourth quarter,97-85. It was their closest margin since the opening moments of the game and came too little too late.
The Spurs coasted to the win, improving their record to 24-10 for the season, and finished the annual rodeo road trip with an 8-1 record, second-best in the trip’s 10-year history.
The visitors turned in a balanced scoring attack, with six players scoring in double figures, led by Blair’s double-double of 28 points and 12 rebounds. His point production against Denver tied a three-year career high.
Also with a double-double for the Spurs was Parker, with 16 points and 12 assists. Barely missing a double-double was Duncan, with 18 points and nine rebounds in just XXX minutes of action. Danny Green added 16 points and Matt Bonner added 12.
For Denver, Corey Brewer led the way with 23 points, all coming in the second half of the game. He was followed by
After the game, when asked for his evaluation of the team’s surprising success this season as it heads into the All-Star break, assistant coach Brett Brown told Spurs Radio, “We have a team, we play like a team. The players understand each other and there’s a respect for the program. We know where we want to be and while there are still a lot of challenges ahead, we’re happy being where we are right now.”
More about San antonio spurs, Rodeo road trip, the season, Tony parker, Dejuan blair
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